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Resurrecting '73 Buick Electra A/C

olds55 on Sat August 14, 2010 8:26 PM User is offlineView users profile

Year: 1973
Make: Buick
Model: Electra
Engine Size: 455
Refrigerant Type: R-12
Country of Origin: United States

Hello everyone-
Great site and info here. I have a 1973 Buick Electra that I am trying to resurrect the A/C on. The last time it worked was 1995 and the compressor seized up then and thats just how I left it. I want to bring it back to life now, I never plan to sell the car and have the money to out into it while I am still single and living at home. I will be using R-12….my dad bought cases of it before prices jumped. Have read up on this forum but still have questions on the best way to tackle the job.

1. I have had bad luck with rebuilt A6 compressors before. New ones I see are very pricey online though, $400 range. Is this still the best route to go, do local auto parts still carry New compressors?

2. I plan on rebuilding the VIR valve. I bought a rebuild kit for it. Exploded view and instructions are shown in my shop manual. Should I rebuild it, or just change the desiccant bag? The system has always had pressure and never been open to the atmosphere. Anything else I need to watch out for/be aware of on the VIR?

3. I plan to flush out the system a few times as I have been reading on the forum. Seems straightforward as well, not going to flush out the muffler line with flush fluid. Do not have access to nitrogen to purge after flushing….would oxygen work?

4. I am going to replace all of the o-rings with the HBNR rings. Are there a few standard sizes I can buy ahead of time at the local auto parts instead of taking the system apart and taking the old rings up there to size them?

5. Shop Manual calls out 525 viscosity oil. Is this still the best oil to use in my R-12 system? Manual also calls out the system is 10.5 oz total. Compressor 6 oz, evaporator 2 oz, condenser 1oz, and desiccant bag 1oz. If I flush the system out, should I follow these guideline for oil quantities and placement?

Thanks in advance for your help. Lenny

newton5 on Tue August 17, 2010 7:38 AM User is offlineView users profile

Good call staying with R12. Those VIR systems don't convert well, as the POA valve can't be adjusted.

1-Yes, a new compressor is the best way to go. There is also a Sanden based variant called a Pro6ten available for about the same price.
Avoid reman compressors from the "chain" parts stores. They are a QC crapshoot. The Forum sponsor sells good quality rebuilt compressors, but I can't speak about the A6. I always buy those new.

2-I would rebuild it. No need to do the job half way and have it bite you.

3- Lots of DRY compressed air will work fine to dry the system after flushing. Pull a long vacuum before charging.

4- There is a kit with the orings that you need.

5- Use the manufacturers spec for the oil type and amount. Add some UV dye to the system for future leak detection.

Good Luck

Edited: Tue August 17, 2010 at 8:06 AM by newton5

mk378 on Tue August 17, 2010 9:07 AM User is offline

2. Test and calibrate your rebuilt VIR valve with compressed air before installing. Then finally put the new desiccant in and install. Do this as the last step after the rest of the system is completely connected.
3. NEVER use oxygen gas for anything but a torch. Oxygen makes stuff that is not normally that flammable (such as refrigeration oil, rubber, and even metal) burn really fast.

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